11th January 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Equipment change sees Blaauw to 4-under
Jacques Blaauw celebrated his first tournament hole of 2018 on Thursday with a 40-foot birdie putt for birdie on the 10th hole as he started the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni with a four-under-par 68.
It was also his first tournament hole with new equipment after a recent change, and his round of five birdies and a bogey left him three shots off the hot early pace set by Chase Koepka, the brother of the reigning US Open champion Brooks.
“I’ve changed manufacturers and I’ve changed my ball,” said Blaauw. “It’s exciting. This is the first week playing with the new clubs. It’s been coming for the last month or so. I needed some change because last year didn’t go so well. I’ve always been with Puma, and Cobra is their brand with clubs. I had a chat with them and they were happy to help me. The guys are always happy to help with the Titleist ball, and all the top guys in the world play with it, so I reckon you can’t go wrong.”
Blaauw has always looked to be a good fit for a tilt at the SA Open title, with his long, straight hitting, and his share of third in a Sunshine Tour winter tournament over 54 holes on the Glendower course back in 2009.
“My sports psychologist, Jannie Botha, and I had a chat about it yesterday and we spoke about the fact that I’ve finished well here before,” said Blaauw. “It wasn’t the SA Open, but the BMG Classic. I finished third here in 2009. I was nine-under-par for the three rounds, so I know I can score out here. Today just proved it.”
He was happy with his general play which got him into a good position to challenge over the weekend. “I hit the ball really nicely. I think I only missed one green and that was on the last hole,” he said. “But I had 31 putts, so I can be a little better on the greens. I know I can do it.
“Yesterday in the practice round, I hit a lot of putts focusing on rolling the ball into the hole, instead of ‘making putts’. It’s funny how you think about it, but just getting the right pace and line to match helped me actually come right.”
It was certainly right on that opening 40-footer. That kind of start each day, and Blaauw could be in contention on Sunday.